This year’s event, for the first time, will feature a compressed festival timeline of five days from the previous more than 10. Each day will focus on a particular artistic discipline – visual arts, music, dance, spoken word and film. The idea behind the new timeline was that five days would allow organizers to focus on quality, rather than quantity, when booking artists and acts.
“Westobou offers an intensive week of the arts that is both challenging and accessible, fun and thought-provoking,” said Molly McDowell, the event’s executive director.
Tickets for Westobou Festival events go on sale Friday, Aug. 3. For more information, go to westobou
festival.com. Here’s an early look at some of the highlights of the 2012 Westobou Festival line-up.
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 3
Featured discipline: Visual art (All visual-art exhibitions will remain on display throughout the festival and are free to the public.)
Where: Old Academy of Richmond County
• Julia Easterlin and Ben “Bean” Worley: The festival opens with a one-off collaboration between Augusta-bred musician and loop artist Julia Easterlin and Atlanta filmmaker Ben Worley, who specializes in amalgamations of found and original footage in his post-modern movies. The performance will take place on the parade grounds of the Old Academy of Richmond County.
• The House that Herman Built: A collaborative examination of life, loss and living spaces executed by artist Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace, a solitary confinement prisoner at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
• Joe Walters exhibition: This South Carolina-based artist will build a wall- and ceiling-mounted installation based on the region’s native flora.
• World Trade Center Recordings: Winds After Hurricane Floyd: In 1997, Stephen Vitiello was the artist-in-residence at the World Trade Center. Part of his work there included this aural installation based on the particular sound the wind made while whipping around the twin towers.
• A Step On the Sun!!: Janet Bigg’s video and sound piece explores life in the sulfur mines of an Indonesian volcano.
• Limbo: This film by celebrated artist Cao Guimaraes incorporates still images shot in Brazil into a unique nonlinear storytelling experience. Guimaraes has previously shown at the Tate Modern in London and the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim museums in New York City.
• Interactive courtyard art: Atlanta-based artist Scott Ingram will install foam ‘cinder blocks’ in the Academy courtyard. The idea is not to display art, but rather to encourage visitors to build their own free-form sculptures.
• Portraiture exhibition: A show featuring new approaches to one of art’s oldest forms will include pieces by William Christenberry, Dayna Thacker and Angela West.
Where: Paine College
• Lonnie Holley: World-renowned self-taught artist Lonnie Holley will construct a site-specific found-object installation celebrating the life, art and continuing influence of Augusta’s own James Brown. Holley will also present a spoken-word event at Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel on Saturday, Oct. 6.
Where: North Augusta Arts and Heritage Center
Artists Karen Rich Beall and Clair Corey will collaborate in a joint exhibition that investigates the often unseen wonders of the natural world.
THURSDAY, OCT. 4
Featured discipline: Music
Where: Parade Grounds of the Old Academy of Richmond County
• Janelle Monae: Rising neo-soul singer Janelle Monae will perform in a one-time collaboration with funk legend Maceo Parker and his band. The performance will be preceded by a set by Fred Wesley and the New JBs. Both Parker and Wesley are former, and instrumental, members of James Brown’s band. The concert will open with a performance by local funk act Funk You.
FRIDAY, OCT. 5
Featured discipline: Spoken word
Where: Augusta State University
• Phillipe Petit: In 1974 Phillipe Petit strung a tight rope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center and performed a very high wire act. Petit will discuss the feat, which was the subject of the Oscar-winning 2008 documentary Man On Wire, in addition to his participation in the critically acclaimed film.
SATURDAY, OCT. 6
Featured discipline: Dance
Where: Imperial Theatre
• The L.A. Dance Project: A few short weeks after its inaugural performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, this innovative company, under the direction of Benjamin Millepied, will perform at the Westobou Festival. Planned pieces include Merce Cunningham’s Winterbranch, William Forsythe’s Quintett and a Millepied original. The performance will be a Southern premiere.
The L.A. Dance Project was developed around the idea of collaboration not only between dancers and choreographers, but also composers, producers and filmmakers. Millepied has previously worked with the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. He also choreographed the dance sequences in the critically acclaimed film The Black Swan, which starred his now-wife, Natalie Portman.
Where: Downtown Augusta
• De Trace: The art or sport (depending on your point of view) of parkour involves highly athletic and improvisational vaulting, rolling, running, climbing and leaping in urban environments. The parkour team De Trace will bring the increasingly popular form to Augusta for a demonstration/performance.
SUNDAY, OCT. 7
Featured discipline: Film
• I’m Fine, Thanks: The festival wraps with the Southern premiere of a documentary shot during a two-month journey across the United States. This film investigates the reasons for and possible escapes from mediocrity.